Alexandria's Archives, Part
A Sampling of Costume
Authentic Ethnic, Fantasy and Everything in Between
by Lynette and GS Staff
The eclectic Carnival of Stars
Festival, held in Hayward, California, is just
around the corner. This third annual event
features a panel discussion, a costume contest,
underground cartoonists, in addition to workshops
Why does Alexandria (Pepper
Alexandria) hold a festival that brings belly
dance and comic books together? Perhaps her
photo albums hold a key to the answer; she
has always combined these two worlds and the
combination has served her career in dance
very well. She
has been a purist in several ethnic specialties,
as well as a fusion artist who mixes regional
costuming with pure fantasy. Pepper did this
long before the current divide in our community
over such issues. One of the first to mix Cabaret
and what is now called Tribal, she says she
started this out of confusion! I suspect that
it also has to do with her very creative and
rebellious nature. Alexandria now focuses her
own dance solely on the Classical Egyptian
She began her career as a performer
in New Orleans, moving to the San
Francisco Bay Area during the "summer
of love". She was first introduced to
Oriental dance by Princess Aisha, a
Turkish bellydancer that worked at the Bagdad Cabaret
in San Francisco. Then she studied with Masha
Goodyear, and Dahlena. She
was a stick dancer (cane or ?) as part of troupe Bal
1974. In 1979, She was one of the earliest American
dancers to go to Egypt, where she studied Ghawazi
with the Banat
Her career has included regular
gigs at the Solano Stroll, and Hooker's
performances at comic book conventions, as
the "in house" dancer
for TV shows such as Creature Features
and Cinema Insomnia, shows with TV
spokes person Henry Tannibaum, Tribune
reporter Chancy Baily, and Sidewalks for Richard
In the 1980’s she became involved in
the punk scene, and formed the band "The
with James White. They have
now been playing the local punk dives for 10
Pepper became involved in
underground cartoon scene as an artist as
well as a model. This involvement started at
the Hooker's Ball while dancing for Margo
St. James with Masha and Molly
Bode. "There I met Larry
Todd (Dr. Atomic). He introduced me
to Vaughn Bode (father of
Mark Bode who created the cartoon characters
Cheech Wizard and Colbalt 60) and from there
I also met Robert Crumb (created "Mr
Nautral"), Gilbert Shelton (created "Fat
Rodriguez, Hal Robbins, and Mark
Bode." Pepper just published her third
volume of Belly Dance Comics. She makes costumes for herself
and as well as many other dancers, and she also creates and sells
cloth sculptures of comic book characters (The Bode Dolls).
Pepper says of herself: "I want people to know that I am not trying to bring down Belly dance, I helped create every aspect of it and everything that you've heard about me is true!"
Carnival of Stars: November 10 and 11, 9am-9pm. This year's instructors include- Dahlena, Angelika, Jacque, and Star of Creature Features, John Stanley.
costume with assuit skirt. I sold this costume
costume with tiara
costumed as a women of the Ouiled Nail
Yes, she is smoking a cigarette.
and students pose with David Nash.
David is a well known performer who worked
in Las Vegas as a singer and dancer for 16
Marge from Hawaii is on right and ? is on left.
performance in Tunisian costume
with Tai Che swords at a comic
Guedra performance at a
festival in Scottish Rite Temple
with an ape man on Creature Features
with a unicorn at a comic book convention
performing with her band- "the Clones" at
the Gilman street punk rock club in Berkeley.
This band has been together for 10 years
in ghawazi costuming.
More ghawazi dance including the Banat Mazin will be featured
in the part 2 of Pepper's archives
in character as Marilyn Monroe.
"I did this character for singing telegrams. -Happy Birthday Mr. President!"
In character as the blue haired "Bodisatfa" for
the "Hooker's Ball", a yearly event in San Francisco.
"Garters and Nails" Just a fantasy costume, mixing goth, Bellydance,
and Thai finger extensions?
face -Here is when I started mixing cab,
gypsy and tribal styling all together
Performing in fringe costume at a Hells Angels event
In the punk mode with niece Melanie at the Florida Space
In one of my "Red Sonya" Costumes
She is a character from the Conan movies.
Notice the tooth necklace
Solano stroll in Beledi dress at our usual spot in front
of the rug store.
"I've been at the Solano Stroll for 18 years!"
with Reda's band at Rakkasah 9 years ago
Publicity shot from my New Orleans era
Performing with a sword. Robaire on
drum in back.
This was a gig for Last Gasp Comics attended
by Robert Crumb who drew "Mr Natural".
and troupe posing With Mr. Stanley of "Creature
Features" 23 years ago.
Mr Stanley will be at this year's event. More recent photos of
us together on our site.
Zenuba, Pauline, Julie, John Stanley and Pepper
posing with Molly Bode
Molly's husband Mark a talented cartoonist
will be at our event on Saturday, Nov 10.
This is a photo from when I was with Masha Archer in
1973. Her troupe was called "San Francisco Classical
Plates on breasts and head piece are Turkmen.
I remember this style as being invented by Masha
pose from the Masha era
Cholie use started by Masha
in a tiger print dress at the Salono
posing with a toy seller dressed
as a viking at a comic book convention.
This is another Red Sonya costume.
photo spread will be featuring the Mazin family
and Alexandria's obsession with Ghawazi!
Pepper Alexandria and Latifa's Carnival
of Stars festival will be held on November
10 & 11 in Hayward, California
a comment? Send
us a letter!
Check the "Letters to the Editor" for
other possible viewpoints!
on last year's festival
1-Carnival of Stars 2006 Photos by
Sponsors Alexandria and Latifa
November 11 & 12, 2006
Centennial Hall, Hayward, California
2-Carnival of Stars Photos by Michael
Costume Contest Carnival of Stars
Bellydance & Comic Book Convention & Costume
Contest Photos by Michael Baxter
of Stars Bellydance & Comic Book
Convention & Costume Contest Photos
by Michael Baxter
2-13-07 Sunday Morning Panel Discussion
at Carnival of Stars, November 11, 2007 Transcribed from video by
Panel members discussed Fusion in Belly Dance. Members included: Jihan
Jamal, Shareen El Safy, Dahlena, Debbie Lammam, Amina Goodyear, and Edwina
on 2005 festival
5-5-05 Carnival of Stars Holiday
Dance Festival and Comic Book Convention Photos by GS Staff
Book Artists Portray Dancers
addition to the dancing and vending, comic book artists
were on hand to demonstrate their ability to convert
photos into works of art as well as to promote their
Danish Caricatures Controversy: a
Muslim-American Political Cartoonist Weighs-In, by
Try as I may, while reviewing
the infamous Islam-o-phobic Danish
caricatures, I fail to discern in them
any clear political statement other
than the questionable assertion that
Islam equals terrorism.
Jamila Experience by Yasmela
of these feelings fled as soon as Jamila walked through
the door. A big impressive woman clad entirely
Devil's Details, Show Ethics for
Professionals, Part 3- Separating
the Girls from the Women by Yasmin
a performer conducts herself as a professional she
is much more likely to obtain repeat engagements
and referrals. No one wants to be seen knowingly
hiring an amateur. It is bad for business and a customer’s